Tarantulas have the ability to climb both plastic and glass walls thanks to the sticky silk that they have on their feet, which is distributed to the tarantula’s feet through the hairs on their legs.
Tarantulas don’t like climbing walls or big obstacles, because they prefer to keep their feet on the ground. However, if you have a terrarium with a plastic or glass wall, you might want to be careful and put a lid on the terrarium to prevent the tarantula from escaping.
As tarantulas climb on a smooth surface, they will create silk with their legs to help them stick to the surface better. As a result, the tarantula will leave traces behind it as it scales smooth surfaces – these traces are made out of silk that starts to thicken up very quickly, which allows the tarantula to stick to glassy or plastic walls.
Can Tarantulas Climb Plastic or Glass Walls?
Yes, tarantulas have the capacity to scale plastic or glass walls thanks to their ability to create silk instantly as they climb.
This is a question that many terrarium or tank owners ask; they want to know whether their tarantula will be able to climb up the wall of the terrarium and potentially escape. The answer is yes, they can climb walls – and in fact, will escape your terrarium if you don’t have a lid on top.
The vast majority of spiders create silk in their abdomen, which is then used by the spider to create webs and spin large-scale structures made out of silk. However, tarantulas also have the capacity to create silk inside their legs, which is then distributed to the edges of the legs when they need it.
This immense ability makes it seem as though the tarantula has Spiderman-like abilities, but it’s highly practical to help them survive in nature. Where they live, they often face rough terrain and also smooth surfaces, which is when they’ll need to use the full capacity of this mechanism to overcome these surfaces.
There are some indications that when they climb glass or plastic surfaces, tarantulas move a bit slower than usual. This is because they need their adhesive material to start thickening, which then gives it a bit more grip to be able to climb or scale the wall they find themselves on.
How Do Tarantulas Climb Walls?
Tarantulas usually prefer not to climb smooth surfaces such as plastic or glass walls – but they have the ability to do it thanks to their ability to create silk with their legs.
Additionally, they will use hairs when they climb over smooth surfaces. The small hairs that are on the tarantula’s leg are made in a triangular-like shape, which provides the spider with a bit more grip than usual. There are more than 600.000 of these hairs on the spider’s legs, and they’re also called “setules”.
If you combine the setules with their silk-making capacity, you get a combination that’s good enough to help the spider climb over smooth surfaces. When it finds itself on a smooth surface like a plastic or glass wall, it will move a bit slower so that the silk they create thickens and makes it easy for the tarantula to move up.
There have even been studies made by scientists about these setules, and they’ve found that they offer a grip that is 170 times stronger than the weight of the entire spider. Thanks to this, spiders are able to overcome even bigger obstacles that might prove challenging to many other spiders.
How often Do Tarantulas Climb Walls?
Tarantulas prefer to keep their feet on the ground where they live, but they might occasionally challenge themselves and start climbing up a wall if they need to.
For the vast majority of the time, though, tarantulas will try to stay on even ground. This is good news if you have a terrarium with a plastic or glass wall. However, you have to be careful: your tarantula has the capacity to climb over the walls of the terrarium, so it might be essential that you keep the lid on.
Your tarantula might want to go out of the terrarium if it spots something interesting outside. It might also want to wander around and discover its surroundings, but it’s best not to let it go too far, or else you’re risking losing the tarantula, which might not easily return back to the terrarium if it decides to hide.
Another problem might be if you don’t provide it with enough good inside the terrarium, so it will start to explore other options as it looks for ways to locate more food for itself. Make sure your tarantula has a good stream of food and water inside the terrarium.
Why Do Tarantulas Climb Walls?
There are several reasons as to why a tarantula might start climbing walls:
- It’s looking for food and water that it can’t find inside the terrarium
- It’s looking for anchor points to help it create webbing
- The tarantula wants to mate and it’s looking for a mate
- It’s restless or wants to explore
These are all of the most common reasons why your tarantula might be climbing up the walls. If your tarantula is new to your terrarium or home, then it’s perfectly normal to see it climb up walls. It’s still restless and not very used to its new surroundings, so it might take some time for it to get used to it.
If it’s for other reasons, then it’s best to take a look if the tarantula has enough water and food inside, and that the terrarium is well kept. Tarantulas also don’t like dirty terrariums or areas where there is too much light, so make sure it’s slightly dim and maybe even dark so that it’s comfortable inside.
MORE TARANTULA GUIDES:
- 4 Best Communcal Tarantulas
- List of the Most Docile Tarantulas
- How Long can a Tarantula Live without Food?
- Tarantula vs Other Spiders – Key Differences
- Are Tarantulas Reptiles?
- Can Tarantulas Hear?
Tarantulas have an immense ability to climb up smooth surfaces, including plastic or glass walls. If you have such a terrarium, then you might want to consider keeping a lid on top of the terrarium.